If you ever thought about what would happen if you got hurt on the job, you might have pictured going to a clinic or emergency room, spending time resting and healing at home, missing some work.
And then recovering eventually. And life getting back to normal.
You probably didn’t expect that “normal” will never be the same.
But some injuries can cause lifelong changes—scarring, loss of use of a body part, or even amputation.
You may know that workers’ compensation benefits provide financial assistance for a period of time after an injury on the job.
What happens when you can move on with your life, but your body is altered permanently? When there won’t be an end to the effect your injury has on you?
A form of workers’ comp addresses this: Permanent Partial Disability (PPD) benefits.
Permanent Partial Disability gives you financial compensation for the damage to your body, even when you can return to work and go back to earning the income you made before.
The amount you receive depends on which body part is permanently changed and how severely. PPD benefits are usually reduced by the number of weeks of other workers’ comp payments made to you.
To make sure you get what’s fair—and the full amount available to you—you may need a workers’ compensation lawyer to negotiate this.
Workers’ comp benefits that pay you for injuries on the job, to replace some of the economic damage of this trauma, are called “indemnity benefits” in Louisiana.
Some indemnity benefits are intended to cover a portion of your lost wages when you can’t work, at a rate up to two-thirds of your previous income or a limit set by the state each year, whichever is lower.
Other forms of indemnity benefits, like partial disability benefits, compensate you for longer-term damage to your health.
Here are the primary common forms of workers’ comp financial benefits in Louisiana:
One note: People sometimes confuse different types of “disability” benefits.
Social Security also provides financial help to people who can’t work because of health problems—whether because of a job injury or other medical impairments.
But there is no such thing as Permanent Partial Disability Social Security benefits.
Social Security Disability only recognizes a nearly total inability to work for the long-term. It doesn’t have degrees of disability like Permanent Partial Disability under workers’ comp.
In addition to benefits in the form of payment, workers’ comp also covers the medical treatment you need to recover from your workplace injury.
Or at least it should. Sometimes employers or workers’ comp insurance companies fight you on what they will cover. A workers’ comp attorney helps you push back and get your needs addressed.
At some point, after receiving weekly workers’ comp checks for a while—maybe after your injury cannot heal any further with more medical treatment—you may consider reaching a workers’ comp settlement.
This could include Permanent Partial Disability settlement amounts in a lump sum that ends your workers’ comp claim.
But workers’ comp settlements are not automatic, or guaranteed to be accepted by your workers’ comp insurer. They may reject your settlement offer. Or they could offer you a settlement that’s inadequate, and you don’t have to agree to it.
Some forms of workers’ comp payments in Louisiana last for up to 10 years. Some last indefinitely. You have to consider those timelines in deciding on a settlement, because the settlement permanently stops your workers’ comp benefits.
Part of your settlement decision-making will also include whether it’s likely you’ll need any more medical care for your job injury.
For Permanent Partial Disability settlement amounts, you’ll also need to factor in what you should get based on the body part that is permanently affected and how much your use of that body part is limited.
This is a complicated decision with many variables. But a workers’ comp lawyer can help you find the best option for your situation.
Whether you’re trying to get the Permanent Partial Disability benefits you deserve for a life-changing work injury in Louisiana, maximize your other forms of workers’ comp, or pursue a settlement and move on from workers’ comp, talk to us at Workers’ Compensation, LLC.
Workers’ Comp Is What We Do.